TAT TBACHCNB OOl_L
ANTA BARBARA. CALIFORNIA
HOW TO KNOW
A Brief History of Furniture
from the Days of Ancient
Egypt to the Present Time,
Illustrated with over 300
Typical Examples and a Brief
Description of Each Period
By W. L. KIMERLY
STATE NOffiAL SCH00L
MANUAL ARTS Af'D H6KE
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
GRAND RAPIDS FURNITURE RECORD CO.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
By W. L. Kimerly, Grand Rapids, Mich.
By The Grand Rapids Furniture Record Co.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
THE OBJECT OF THIS BOOK
Most books published on furniture are
too voluminous for any one except the
professional designer. Many of them are
in a foreign language and they are invari-
ably high in price.
It is the object of this book to arrange
in a clear, practical way, a brief history
of furniture, illustrating same with typical
examples of each period and a brief
description of each, so as to produce a
handy reference for all who may wish to
understand "Period Styles in Furniture."
W. L. KIMERLY.
March 1, 1912.
A knowledge of period styles in furniture is as necessary
to those who would properly furnish a home as a knowledge
of grammar is to those who would speak correctly. All
period styles have a history and an exceedingly interesting
one. The historical styles in furniture are those that have
stood the test of time; they were not created in a day, but
were gradually developed to fit the needs of civilization and
society; a change in government or religion has always been
reflected in the character of the furniture. No new style has
ever been created without a knowledge of some older one and
probably never will be. The student of furniture may delve
into the mysteries of design as deeply as he may desire and
always find something interesting and instructive, but the
busy man or woman, the clerk in the furniture store or the
salesman on the road must have the information necessary
for them to understand the general arrangement and char-
acteristics of period styles placed before them in as brief and
compact a manner as possible. It is believed that the follow-
ing pages will accomplish this purpose in a better manner
than any other book now published.
Chronological Table 12
- Egyptian 13
Islam or Moorish 25
Renaissance in Italy 33
Renaissance in France 39
- Louis Quartorze (XIV) 45
- Louis Quinze (XV) .-> 51
Louis Seize (XVI) . 55
Early English Renaissance (Tudor) 65
William and Mary 79
Queen Anne 83
The Georgian Period. 89
The Adam Style 103
Victorian Era 113
Renaissance Styles in Other European Countries 114
L' Art Nouveau 123
Furniture in the United States 125
Colonial Furniture 127
Colonial Style of Today 137
The history of furniture in those countries where it can
be traced, closely follows the character, customs and environ-
ments of the people and corresponds in growth to the develop-
ment of their civilization and refinement, the skill of their
workmen and the use of improved tools, etc., etc.
In order to give a brief outline of its history from the
oldest civilization to the present time, we will begin with
There are very few original pieces of furniture of the
early ages in existence and most of the information of this
period is gathered from illustrations. However, owing to
climatic and other conditions, a number of genuine specimens
of Egyptian furniture have come down to us and we have a
more complete record of the work of this country than many
of the later nations.
The Assyrians, Babylonians and Jews, who were next in
order, did not develop anything distinct in style, and have
left very few specimens that can be attributed to them.
Next come the Greeks, whose work in classic art shows
such an exquisite sense of beauty and form that their influence
on succeeding styles has been very great. Roman art was
greatly influenced by them but they added to it and developed
certain characteristics of their own. One distinct feature of
their work which differed from the Greeks, was their use of
the round arch. The work of the Greeks and Romans form
what is known as the Classic in architecture and furniture
After the Roman came a style called Byzantine. Then
the Moslem power arose and with it came the Islam style
of ornament which was confined chiefly to floral and geomet-
rical motives. The Moslem religion prohibited them from
using human or animal forms in their designs. They also
developed a peculiar style of pointed arch. Meanwhile
classic art had begun to decay and a style arose called Gothic.
io HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
It spread all over Europe and was supreme for several
centuries. Its distinguishing features were geometrical forms
and the high pointed arch. It was distinctly an ecclesiastical
style and was far more suited to architecture than furniture.
During this period classic art was at a very low ebb, but a new
movement began to be felt in every branch of industry and to
this great revival the name of Renaissance had been given.
It started in Italy the latter part of the fifteenth century and
spread all over Europe continuing about one hundred years.
At this time great progress had been made in architecture
and furniture designing. Under the reign of different
monarchs various types were gradually developed until they
were recognized as period styles. These styles were usually
given the name of the sovereign under whose reign they were
developed, although in some cases they were named after the
designer, as in the case of Chippendale, Sheraton and others.
In the early days, furniture followed closely the archi-
tecture of the period. Chests, cabinets, etc., were often given
facades that were simply buildings in miniature, seats were
stiff and cumbersome, chair posts often resembled small church
spires, but with the' advent of period styles, furniture design-
ing became a separate profession, and we find a great variety
of furniture constructed for both comfort and utility and
entirely free from the architectural plan of the building .
although there was always a connecting link in detail or orna-
ment which kept the two in harmony. It must be remembered
there was no distinct line drawn between the different styles
but rather a gradual change or development from one to the
other. Much of the furniture made during these transitory
periods is extremely difficult to classify, it oft-times being
impossible for even experts to determine positively to which
period a particular piece should belong.
So the object of this book is to show fully developed
examples only of each style as they are recognized today.
As the greatest number of styles were developed in
France and England, a chronological table has been arranged
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 11
showing the order of their development in these and adjoining
All illustrations shown in this book are reproduced from
pieces actually made or designed during the time the particular
period they represent was in vogue.
Showing the Order of Period Styles from the Beginning of the Renaissance
to the 19th Century.
Home of Tudor
ENGLISH RENAISSANCE PERIODS
About the duration
of the Renaissance
Period in other
FRENCH RENAISSANCE PERIODS
Flemish & Dutch,
Spain and Portugal,
v Barocco Styles.
Beginning of the Rococo.
The Gentleman's and
published 1754 and a
later edition 1 762.
3 Louis Quinze
Hepprlwhite's book. "The
Cabinetmaker and Uphol-
Herer's Guide," 1789.
Sheraton's book, "The
Cabinetmaker and Uphol-
sterer's Drawing Book."
was published 1791. A
later edition IB 1812.
Stone was the principal building material of the Egyptians
but wood and metal were used for the lighter articles. All
three materials were employed in making furniture.
The principal woods were the sycamore, cedar and some
, varieties of palm.
Carving and inlaying were used, but painting was the
predominating method of decoration. The motifs used in
decorations were the lily, lotus flower, date palm and reed.
The following illustrations show the character of their
furniture and ornamentation.
Egyptian Sphinx in the Vatican Museum.
Egyptian Columns Showing Character of Ornament.
14 HOW TO KNOW^PEKIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Ancient Egyptian Throne.
Egyptian Upholstered Chair in
Egyptian Stool Covered in Leather
in British Museum.
. . ;,' ,:
The furniture and ornamental work of these countries
was very similar to that of Egypt, but each country had
certain characteristics of its own.
A few illustrations of their work are interesting and form
a necessary link in our history.
Bronze Tripod, in the
Assyrian Throne from a
Assyrian Bronze Throne, in
Grecian art reached the height of its glory from three
to four centuries B. C. Their work constitutes what is known
today as Classic Art.
The characteristics of their art were very different from
those of Egypt and other oriental countries. They established
the three orders of columns, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian,
and showed great taste and refinement in ornament and pro-
Their most famous work was on their temples and build-
ings, but they designed a great variety of furniture which
was made of bronze, wood, and stone.
Characteristic detail: The Anthemion, Antefix, frets,
egg and dart and dentil mouldings.
Different Types of the Ante-fix.
Egg and Dart Moulding.
Jl -ML A ill 1 ' vT^ .
i8 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Greek Throne from a Relief, in
Greek Chair Upholstered with
Greek Lady's Chair, from an Antique
Greek Marble Chair.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 19
Greek Couch and
Grecian Order of Columns.
The Roman National Art was developed largely under
the guidance of Greek teachers and, consequently, has many
similar features, but their work in the Classic Art was much
more highly ornamented than the Greek style.
They established the round arch and brought architec-
ture to a high state of development. They adopted the Greek
orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, and added one of their
Many specimens of Roman Classic Art were found when
the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered
Bronze Couch Frame found at Pompeii,
now in Naples Museum.
Ancient Roman Bronze
Stand, in the British
Bronze Seat found at Pompeii, now in
. Naples Museum.
Bronze Stand found at Herculaneum,
in Naples Museum.
22 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Roman Arm Chair, with
Marble Table found at Pompeii
During most of the early periods, religion was one of the
chief motives for a change in style, and when Christianity
became predominant during the Byzantine Empire, ancient
classic art was put aside. The old heathen temple and its
decorations did not satisfy these early Christians, so they
developed a style which is known as Byzantine. One of its
chief characteristics was the ornamentation. The pecu-
liar sharp pointed acanthus leaf being used extensively,
mosiacs and rich decorative effects were also prominent feat-
ures. Very little furniture was produced. Probably the most
interesting piece left -is the chair of "St. Peter" in Rome.
It was inlaid with ivory and gold, and is one of the oldest
pieces of wooden furniture in existence.
Byzantine Carving from a Church in
Byzantine Capital from
St. Mark. Venice.
Chair of "St. Peter, Rome.
Byzantine Baptistry, from a Palace
Baptismal Font, from a Church
ISLAM OR MOORISH
When the Moslem power spread abroad, a new style
followed, known as Islam or Moorish. The Moslem religion
prohibited the use of human or animal forms in paintings or
decorations, so their art was confined to geometric and vege-
table ornament. They were very skillful in artistic interlacing
and interweaving of arabesque and geometrical ornament
and the use of rich and vivid coloring. Their use of the horse-
shoe and ogee arch was another characteristic feature of the
period. Their work was confined chiefly to mosques and
buildings, and not much furniture was produced.
Minaret of a Mosque.
Gothic first put in an appearance about the year 1200,
and quickly spread all over Europe. It was chiefly an archi-
tectural style, but its influence is clearly seen in the furniture,
which at this period was closely allied to architecture.
The. high pointed arch and geometrical forms were
characteristic of the style. The trefoil and quatrefoil were
the chief motifs used in carving.
Cupboards, chests, tables, beds, and cabinets were the
principal pieces of furniture made during this period. The
chairs, with the exception of folding stools, were massive and
Gothic was predominant for several centuries.
English Coronation Chair in Gothic Style,
Nurnberg. Westminster Abbey.
28 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Gothic Credence Cupboard, 15th Century.
Gothic Stall in the Cluny
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 29
Gothic Credence Cupboard, 15th Century.
RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
The Renaissance style originated in Italy about 1443 to 1564
and reached a degree of excellence that has never been equalled
elsewhere. It was a revolt from the stiff, formal arrangement
of the Gothic and the return of classic principles.
Great artists worked during the Renaissance period in
Italy; such men as Titan, Raphael, Palladio and Michael
Angelo being identified with the movement. Workman from
Italy went to France, England and other countries, and the style
spread all over Europe with such changes as the conditions
in different countries naturally brought about.
Italian Renaissance was a rich, elegant style, principally
for the palace. Very few pieces of middle class furniture
have come down to us.
Carving was the principal ornamentation used on furni-
ture and was applied with lavish expense, as was the use of
stamped leather and rich velvets.
Characteristic features are the acanthus leaf, arabesque
scroll, ribbons and flowers, swags of fruit, grotesque human
and animal forms.
Italian Renaissance Carved Seat, 15th Century.
34 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Italian Renaissance Carved Chest, 16th Century.
Italian Renaissance Table, 15th Century.
Italian Renaissance Table, 16th Century.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 35
Italian Renaissance Folding Chair,
in South Kensington Museum.
Italian Renaissance Hall
Chair, in South Kens-
ru T*.,!.-.,., Renaissance Chair.
Italian Upholstered Chair, in South
36 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Italian Renaissance Seat, from the De Medici Family.
Italian Renaissance Bench.
Italian Renaissance Stall, 15th Century.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 37
Italian Renaissance Mantels, 15th Century.
38 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Different Types of Italian Renaissance Ornament
RENAISSANCE IN FRANCE
The French Renaissance period began during the reign
of Frances I. and ran about one hundred years, ending
with the formal work of Louis XIV. It followed along lines
of the Italian Renaissance but was coarser and heavier in
ornamental detail. Much of the work was done by Italian
designers, but still it became imbued with the French spirit
and developed strong characteristics of its own. By this time
the Renaissance movement had developed furniture to where
special study was given this branch of designing. The early
French Renaissance shows considerable intermingling with
the Gothic which was more firmly rooted than in Italy.
Characteristic features are the arabesque, shields, scrolls,
half figures, animal forms, cartouch, shell curved pediments,
and twisted columns.
French Renaissance Mantel.
40 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
French Renaissance Cabinet, 16th Century.
French Renaissance Chair,
French Renaissance Chair,
French Renaissance Chest, 16th Century.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 41
French Renaissance Chair,
late 16th Century.
French Renaissance Bed, 16th Century.
Cluny Museum, Paris.
French Renaissance Henry III. Cabinet,
in South Kensington Museum.
French Renaissance Table,
42 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Fine Old French Renaissance Mantel.
LOUIS QUATORZE (XIV.)
The Louis XIV. marked the end of the Renaissance
period in France and the beginning of a series of distinct
period furniture styles.
The Renaissance style had gradually undergone changes
until under the patronage of Louis XIV. it developed into what
was probably the most magnificent of the French period styles.
It was an age of courtly splendor and grandeur; of rich,
massive furniture, well suited to the palace and salon and
where it is used today for large, richly furnished rooms.
One of the notable features was the work of Andre
Charles Boule. He was thef King's cabinet-maker and was one
of the greatest of the ebinestes (workers in ebony), inlaying
this wood with tortoise shell, brass and other metals until the
whole resembled a brilliant mosaic. He further decorated his
work with chiseled mounts of ormolu and bronze, carved and
Marble and granite were used for table and console tops,
and fine tapestries for upholstering; all combining to create
a style in perfect harmony with the pomp and glittering
splendor of the age.
Characteristic features of the style: Well-balanced
barocco ornament, cupids, shell, mask, satire, ramshead and
the acanthus leaf.
Louis XIV. Chair Upholstered
46 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Louis XI\ r . Arm Chairs Upholstered in Tapestries.
From an old design of a Louis XIV. Table.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 47
Mirror Fram* and Clock Cases
Louis XIV. Style.
Louis XIV. Table, from an Early 18th Century Design.
48 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Louis XIV. Boule Cabinet
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 49
Louis XIV. Marriage Coffer and Cabinet, by
Andre Charles Boule.
50 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Design of Louis XIV. Mantel and
LOUIS QUINZE (XV.)
Louis XV. was distinctly a rococo style straight lines
were avoided whenever possible. The barocco type of orna-
ment of the Louis XIV. style was a heavier and well-
balanced type, while the rococo ran in all directions, regard-
less of structural features. It was a succession of broken
curves, shell ornament, wreaths, flowers, etc., etc., designed
for an age of frivolousness, licentiousness and excessive luxury.
Ornamentation was carried to the extreme in fantastic com-
binations a style principally suited to the boudoir or parlor.
An important feature of the period was the use of lacquer,
known as Vernis Martin, the name of the inventor. Gilt carv-
ings, marquetrie, painting and ormolu mounts covered every-
thing plain surfaces were avoided whenever possible. From
' the point of fine workmanship, furniture of this period has
never been surpassed.
^ Characteristic features are: The cabriole leg, extreme
rococo, curled endive leaf, shell and twisted scroll ornament.
Louis XV. Bureau.
52 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Louis XV. Table.
Desk owned by the French King, Louis XV.
Elaborately Decorated with Marquetrie and Chased Ormolu Mounts.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 53
Louis XV. Settee.
Louis XV. Chair.
Louis XV. Commode, decorated in Vernis
Martin and with Ormolu Mounts.
54 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Interior Showing Elaborate Rococo Ornamentation of the
Louis XV. Period.
LOUIS SEIZE (XVI.)
The Louis XVI. style was a return to classical principles.
While Louis XV. was all curves, Louis XVI. was character-
ized by straight lines and simplicity in construction and is
easily distinguished from the former for that reason.
To the refined taste of Queen Marie Antoinette is given
a great deal of credit for the existence of this style. It was
also greatly influenced by the discoveries of antique classic
ornament at Herculaneum and Pompeii. The straight leg was
nearly always used turned, tapered, fluted or twisted. Gild-
ing, carving, marquetrie, Vernis Martin, ormolu mounts were
all used in decorations, but in a refined artistic manner.
Characteristic features are : The fluted column, oak and
laurel leaf, wreaths, the Greek band and other classical emblems.
Louis XVI. Table.
56 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Louis XVI. Tapestry-back Settees, from 18th Century Examples.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 57
Louis XVI. Bed.
Louis XVI. Sofa.
58 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Winged Arm Chair, Louis XVI.
Louis XVI. Arm Chairs.
This style was developed during the reign of Napoleon,
and the letter N was found everywhere in the decoration of
the period. The style was a revival of Greek, Roman and
Egyptian motifs. Marquetrie and carving were discarded and
plain surfaces were decorated with brass and ormolu mounts
of antique emblems.
Mahogany was the principal wood employed and con-
siderable veneering was used.
Characteristic features: The wreath, torch, Sphinx,
Greek band, honeysuckle, Roman eagle, columns and scroll
Napoleon's Bed at the Grand
HOW TO ^VOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 61
Large Empire Table.
62 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
ir* Btr.l of Madame Du Barry, Paris.
EARLY ENGLISH RENAISSANCE (Tudor)
The early Renaissance in England was a mixture of
classic and Gothic detail crudely drawn and developed into
what is known as the Tudor style under the first four
Sovereigns of the House of Tudor, but more especially
Henry VIII. He gave encouragement to the revival and
brought Italian artists and artisans to England, who left work
that had its influence on the English designer. As in the
Gothic days, furniture still closely followed architecture and
was still heavy, cumbersome and uncomfortable. The fire-
place was the most elaborate piece of work in the house during
all of the early English Renaissance periods.
Characteristics are: A mingling of Italian and Gothic
detail, heavy turnings, the Tudor rose and other types of round
Tudor Oak Game Table, about 1585.
66 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Tudor Oak Stool,
Remains of one of the oldest pieces of Tudor
English Upholstered Furniture known,
Tudor Stool, showing Round Carved
Panels of the Period, about 1580.
Tudor Oak Chair in Winchester Cathedral.
Used on the occasion of the marriage
of Mary Tudor with Philip.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 67
Tudor Table, Henry XIII., known as the
Melon Bulb Table.
Tudor Chair, about 1535.
Carved Panel Showing
Queen Elizabeth was the last sovereign of the House of
Tudor and the architecture and furniture made during her
reign is known as Elizabethan. The Renaissance movement
was gradually making a change in the furniture of England.
The workmen brought over from Italy, where the new
style had made its greatest progress, were imitated by the
native artisans, but not with the skill and delicacy of ornament
that characterized the Italian work. However, they developed
a sturdy, substantial style that was particularly suited to oak.
The furniture was of a heavy, massive construction with showy
facades, fluted and carved columns, on which a crude Ionic
cap was often used. Carving was coarse and flat, a character-
istic feature being the interwoven strap work; some inlaying
was also done.
The furniture of the period consisted mainly of chests,
cabinets, cupboards, massive canopy beds and chairs of a stiff
and cumbersome nature with wood or cane seats. Upholster-
ing had not yet come into vogue to any great extent, loose
cushions being used instead.
Rooms were usually furnished with paneled wains-
coting, beamed or moulded ceilings.
Characteristics of the style : Heavy bulbous legs, turned
or square, interwoven strap work, heavy mouldings and carved
panels of a coarse Renaissance style.
Late Elizabethan Draw Table.
70 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Elizabethan Bed of Oliver Cromwell.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 71
Elizabethan Cupboard, about 1570.
Elizabethan Wood Seat Chair.
Inlaid and Carved, 16th Century.
72 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FIRNITURE.
Elizabethan Mantel, lth Century.
There is no distinct line of demarcation between the late
Elizabethan and early Jacobean. The same style of ornamenta-
tion was used for some time, but there was a gradual change
from the heavy and somewhat over-ornamented Elizabethan
to severer forms and less ornament. Some of the later work
became quite plain rectangular, square, diamond and L-shaped
moulded panels were much used. Turned legs and supports
became popular. Most of the carving was cut into the solid
wood instead of the raised or applied kind. Inlaying was also
used in a limited way.
Chairs with cane backs and seats were popular and of a
much lighter design than the Elizabethan. Upholstering was
used on some of the plainer styles of chairs and settees.
The Jacobean was contemporaneous with the Flemish
style and was considerably influenced by it.
Elizabethan, Jacobean and Flemish styles can be used
together in perfect harmony in furnishing a room. Oak was
the wood of the period. By referring to the chronological
table, it will be seen that the Jacobean period covered the reign
of several monarchs and certain types of the period are some-
times referred to as James I., Charles II., etc., according
to whose reign they were designed under.
Characteristics of the styles: Panelling, moulding,
turned and spiral legs, flat or cut-in carving and a straight
line style of construction.
Early Type of Jacobean Sideboard, South
Kensington Museum, London.
74 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Jacobean, an early example of the Court Cupboard, dated 1606.
An Example of Late Jacobean Work.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 75
Old Jacobean Sideboard.
Jacobean Table, about 1660.
76 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Jacobean Stool, 1640.
Jacobean, late 17th Century.
South Kensington Museum.
Jacobean Wood Seat Chair,
Jacobean Upholstered Cnair,
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 77
Jacobean Cabinet, about 1630.
Old Jacobean Carved Chest.
78 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Jacobean Upholstered Chairs of the Cromwellian Period.
Jacobean Chair with Inlaid
Jacobean Carved Chair,
WILLIAM AND MARY
With the ascension of Mary and her Dutch husband,
William of Orange, to the English throne, Dutch influences
prevailed. Many of the court attaches were Dutch and brought
much of their furniture with them. English workmen copied
these patterns with such changes as their taste suggested and a
new style was gradually developed which became known as
William and Mary.
General simplicity of ornament prevailed, veneering came
into style and Dutch inlaying was popular.
The William and Mary type was really the beginning of
Queen Anne style but had some distinct features which entitled
it to a place of its own. Oak and walnut were the principal
Characteristic features of the style are: Turned legs,
curved under-framing and arched tops to cabinets and frames.
William and Mary Dressing Table, showing Typical
Turned Legs and Curved Underframing.
8o HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
William and Mary Carved
William and Mary Upholstered
William amd Mary Chair,
. about 1090.
William and Mary C*n
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 81
\Villiam. and Mary Arched Tap Writing
Cabinet, about 1690.
In the Queen Anne style we have a type that is a complete
change from the early English Renaissance. Furniture under
the reign of William and Mary formed a connecting link
between the Jacobean and Queen Anne styles, but under Dutch
influences, the old rectangular forms gave way to curved lines
and more graceful proportions. Chairs which had previously
been stiff and uncomfortable, were now shaped to fit the
anatomy of the human form. Upholstering came into general
use and all kinds of "overstuffed" chairs and settees were grace-
ful and comfortable. The slip seat came into style about this
The curved splat-backed chair is another type of the period.
The cabriole leg was introduced and is a distinct feature of the
style. It was first made plain, but later carving was added,
generally in the form of a shell-like ornament at the knee.
The hoof, ball and claw-foot were also used. The cabriole leg
was first introduced by the Dutch traders from China where
it had been used for hundreds of years and probably originated
from animal forms. The ball and claw-foot also came from
China, where it represented the foot of the dragon holding the
mystic jewel. The cabriole leg was adapted to various uses.
It was low and sturdy under heavy cabinets and tall and
slender for tables and chairs.
Veneering was extensively used and Dutch marquetrie
was popular. Walnut was the principal wood but some mahog-
any was used during the latter days. Queen Anne style pre-
dominated from the reign of William and Mary until the end
of the reign of George II.
Characteristic features of the style: The cabriole leg,
under-framing, splat-back chairs with curved seat frames,
arch top cabinets, etc.
84 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Queen Anne Marquetrie Settee with Slip Seat and Cabriole Legs,
with Ball Claw-foot and Shell Carving at Knee, about 1710.
Queen Anne Carved Chair, in South
Queea Anne Marquetrie Chair, with
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 85
Queen Anne Upholstered Settee, with Plain Cabriole Leg and
Queen Anne Carved Chair, with
Queen Anne Upholstered Chair,
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Queen Anne Upholstered Chair, with
Loose Cushion, 1705.
Removable Toilet, used on
Queen Anne Toilet Table, Plain Cabriole
Leg and Hoof Foot
Queen Anne Hoof Foot
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 87
Queen Anne Bed at Hampton Court Palace.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Queen Anne Highboy
or Chest of Drawers.
Inlaid Band Around
THE GEORGIAN PERIOD
The Georgian period is known as the Golden Age of
English furniture. Chippendale, Heppelwhite, Adam Brothers
and Sheraton were the dominating figures of the period and
each left a style to bear their name. They did not design all
the furniture named after them, as many other designers
worked in the same styles.
Other 18th century designers who published books of
designs are :
Thomas Johnson 1758-1761
Ince & Mayhew 1762
J. Crunden f 1765-1796
Robert Manwaring 1765-1766
Thomas Shearer 1793
Thomas Hope 1807
Thomas Chippendale was the first designer to so impress
his personality on his work that the particular style that he
helped develop has borne his name ever since. He was a
carver by trade, but later started in business in St. Martins
Lane, London. His book, the "Gentlemen's and Cabinet-
makers' Directory," was published in 1754 and a later edition
Chippendale chairs are probably better known than any
of his other work. They are noted for their beautiful propor-
tions and delicate carvings. His designs were largely a com-
bination of Gothic, rococo and Chinese detail, all of which he
combined with rare skill. His Chinese frets were exceptionally
fine. One class of his designs was very similar to the Louis
XV. style, so popular in France at that time. The cabriole leg,
ball and claw-foot, were both used by him as also were a
variety of straight, square legs, plain or with the Chinese fret
work laid on or cut through. The slip seat was a character-
istic feature of his chairs.
Chippendale's book shows designs for a great variety of
all kinds of furniture. Mahogany was the principal wood used.
Carving was the method of ornamentation. Chippendale never
used inlay and very little turning.
Characteristic features of the style are : Latticed and
ribbon-backed chairs, bands of fret work and rococo carvings.
Chippendale Settee at South Kensington Museum.
92 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Chippendale Arm' Chair, Middle of 18th
Century. South Kensington Museum.
Ribbon Back Chair, from Chippen-
Chippendale, about 1740.
Fine Carved Chippendale Chair,
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 93
Chinese Chair, from Chippendale's Book.
Gothic Chair, Chippendale's Book.
Chippendale Round-about Chair.
Chinese Chair, from Chippendale's Book.
Gothic Chair, from Chippendale's Book.
94 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
afiiiin i ,\
Bookcase, from Chippendale's Book.
Chippendale Desk, made about 1760. Chippendale Chair. South Kensington
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 95
Tables from Chippendale's Book of
Chippendale Toilet Table, made
96 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Chippendale State Bed, from an 18th
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 97
Secretary, from Chippendale's Book.
STATE WWML s<
98 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Chinese Chippendale Chair from
Heppelwhite was the style to follow Chippendale. George
Heppel white died in 1786 and the furniture business he had
established was carried on by his widow, Alice, under the name
of A. Heppelwhite & Co.
The first edition of his book, "The Cabinet-maker and
Upholsterer's Guide," did not appear until two years after his
Heppelwhite's designs were of a severe straight line style
based on classic principles. His shield-backed chairs are his
best known type. The square, tapering leg with a spade foot,
is most used, although turning is sometimes employed but
never the cabriole leg so popular with Chippendale. A dis-
tinguishing feature of Heppelwhite chair backs was the use of
the Prince of Wales plume. Sheraton never used this in his
chair designs and it is a feature that often settles the author-
ship of certain patterns that otherwise are very similar. Another
distinguishing feature is that Heppelwhite's shield back chairs
usually have a plain, curved top rail, while Sheraton's are
broken or with a small rectangular panel in the center.
Upholstering and cane were both used on chairs and
settees. Carvings were very delicate and refined. Veneering,
marqueterie and painting were all used. Mahogany was the
Characteristic features of the style are : Honeysuckle,
wheat ear and water leaf ornament; shield back chairs and
Upholstered Settee, from Heppelwhite's Book.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Heppelwhite Shield Back Chair, showing Heppelwhite Shield Back Chair, from
Prince of Wales Plume, South his book.
Chair from Heppelwhite's Book, showing Upholstered Wing Chair, from Heppel-
Prince of Wales Plume. white's Boole.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE, rot
Sideboard from Heppelwhite's Book, showing Concave Corners, Square
Leg and Spade Foot.
Bed from Heppelwhite's Book.
Heppelwhite Chest of Drawers with
LIBRARY Removable Toilet.
102 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Hcppelwhite Bed, from hia book.
THE ADAM STYLE
R. and J. Adams were architects, and the furniture
designed for their houses, while very similar to Heppelwhite
and Sheraton, was more a classic style based on a study of
antique detail found in the buried cities of Pompeii and Her-
They introduced a kind of composition ornament that was
applied to the wood. Most of their decorations were in
low relief, either composition or carved. They also used inlay,
painting and guilding. Legs of chairs, tables, etc., were
usually square, fluted and tapering. Chimney pieces show some
of their finest work. Some of the Adams designs were taken
to America during the Colonial days and form the basis of
what is now known as Adams' Colonial.
Characteristic details of the style are : Ram's-heads, urns,
rosettes, festoons, classical moulding and delicate fluting.
Elaborate Sideboard with Knife Vases on Pedestals. A typical
example of the Adam Style.
104 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Adam Sideboard and Cellarette.
Adam Pedestals and Knife Vases.
Knife Vase, showing
method of opening.
Adam Tea Caddie.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 105
io6 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE
Thomas Sheraton has been called the master of cabinet
making- and inlay. He used very little carving- and what he
did was very dainty and strictly conventional. Like the Heppel-
white, Adam and Louis XVI. styles, Sheraton followed
straight classic lines. His best work was severe and simple
and on some of his furniture he did not use a single moulding
but depended entirely upon inlay for ornamentation. He was
the first designer to use satinwood to any great extent and
was famous for his veneered work and mechanical contrivances.
The majority of his chair backs were rectangular in form
with slightly curved and broken top rails. He used a variety
of straight legs, square, turned, tapered and fluted, but never
the cabriole leg. He favored all-over stuffed seats except where
cane was used, and seldom used under-framing. His book,
"The Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book," was
published in 1791, and shows a great variety of all kinds of
furniture. The sideboards and side-tables in his book always show
the convex corners, while Heppelwhite's show the concave. He
was also the first to design a kidney-shaped table. He was not
a manufacturer, as was Chippendale and Heppelwhite, but
sold his designs to whom he could. He was the last of the
18th century designers to leave a style bearing his name, and
is considered by many to have been the greatest of them all.
Mahogany was the principal wood used.
Characteristics of the style are : Rectangular chair back,
straight fluted legs, square or turned; satinwood inlay and
Kidney-shaped Writing Table, from Sheraton's
Book of Designs.
io8 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Sideboard, from Sheraton's Book, showing Convex Corners, Brass
Candlestick and Railing.
Sheraton Writing Desk, made in
i Writing Desk,
Sheraton Cane Seat Chair.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 109
Sheraton Shield-back .Chair. Note broken
top rail, which tispnguishes it from
Secretary, from Sheraton's Book.
Sheraton Chair, in South Kensington
no HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Bookcase and Writing Desk, from Sheraton's Book.
Couch, from Sheraton's Book.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE, in
Bed, from Sheraton's Book.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Ann Chairs and Chair Backs, from Sheraton's Book.
During the early years of the 19th century, an unsuccess-
ful attempt was made to copy the Empire style, but after the
brilliant work of the 18th century, English furniture design-
ing sank to a low ebb. All sorts of cheap, flimsy orna-
ments were used and it was not until the middle of thejp^ury
that styles began to improve.
In 1868, Mr. Charles Eastlake, an architect, published
"Hints on Household Taste," which was responsible for what
is known as the Eastlake style.
William Morris was a designer and decorator of excep-
tional ability and by his lectures and work (1860-1896) did
much to improve public taste. His work was along simple
lines similar to the Arts and Crafts style in England today
and the Mission in the United States.
Table and Chairs from Eastlake's Book, "Hints on
Household Taste," 1868.
THE RENAISSANCE STYLE IN OTHER
By referring to the chronological table, it will be seen
that the Renaissance style spread to all of the European coun-
tries, but it did not develop into a series of distinct period styles
as in France and England. The furniture designed in these
various countries usually followed, more or less, the changes
in fashion that were designated as period styles in France
and England, but their work is known by the name of the
country, as German Renaissance, Spanish Renaissance, etc.,
and not by period names, as Louis Seize, Empire, Chippendale
and other French and English styles.
In Germany the early Renaissance designers closely fol-
lowed the work of Italy and France and later they did consid-
erable work in the rococo style. They were also influenced by
the classic revival that did so much for the furniture of France
and England during the latter part of the 18th century.
German Renaissance Toilet
Stands and Chairs.
In Museum, Dresden.
n6 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
German Rococo Chair.
The early Flemish style in Belgium closely followed the
Italian and French work; but their later designs were made
much plainer and they developed a type that had strong char-
acteristics of its own. It was a style very suitable for oak, the
principal wood used. The Flemish style, which gets its name
from that part of Belgium called Flanders, was very similar
to the Elizabethan and Jacobean in England, and no doubt the
latter named styles were considerably influenced by it.
Carved Flemish Cabinet
n8 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Flemish Carved Chair Back.
Flemish Chair, about 1678.
Flemish Oak Chest, 17th Century.
Corner of Flemish Bed, from the
Plantin Museum, Antwerp.
The Dutch Renaissance of Holland and the Netherlands
was, of course, greatly influenced by the Flemish and French
work, but the tendency of their designers was towards plainer
surfaces and less ornament.
The early Dutch were great traders with the east and
they brought back many rare colored woods which were used
on their furniture in the form of veneers and inlays develop-
ing into what is known as Dutch marquetrie.
Dutch Renaissance Chair, from a book
published in 1642.
Cabinet Inlaid with Dutch Marqueterie.
Dutch Splat Back Chair.
The furniture and ornament of Spain and Portugal was
strongly influenced by the Moorish style owing to their close
proximity to Morocco. They were never great furniture
builders, and old Spanish furniture is very scarce. During
their conquest of Belgium and the Netherlands, some of their
characteristics found their way into those countries and what
is known as the Spanish foot, is often seen on Flemish and
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Spanish Renaissance Chair, showing
This style was brought prominently before the public at
the Paris Exposition in 1900. The style is based on natural-
istic principles. Motifs are the root of the tree, trunk, branches,
leaves and vines twisted into all manner of shapes. It had its
greatest run in Austria and France, but has not proved very
satisfactory for furniture and is probably better adapted to
metal work or wall and cloth designs.
Cabinet Shown at Paris Exposition, 1900.
124 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Art Nouveau Upholstered Arm Chair,
shown at the Paris Exposition, 1900.
Art Nouveau Chair, with Inlaid
Back and Upholstered Seat,
shown at Paris Exposition.
FURNITURE IN THE UNITED STATES
During the early days of this country, some excellent
furniture was produced owing principally to the study of 18th
century English and French models. Then came a period of
reaction. Furniture was loaded with cheap ornament and
meaningless carving. The main idea seemed to be "how much"
and not "how good." This was partly due to the introduction
of labor-saving machinery, but more to untrained men going
into the furniture business, many of them being entirely
ignorant of the first principles of correct design. The rapid
growth of the country caused such a demand for furniture
that anything sold for a time, but a gradual improvement set
in; factories began to employ experienced designers and the
past twenty-five years has shown great advancement in the
manufacture of furniture in this country. It is now produced
in all the old period styles of a quality equal to any in the
world and two new styles have been added to the list Colonial
126 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Typical Old New England Settle, with Folding Candlestick Holder.
The name of this style is derived from the Colonial days
of the United States and was the outgrowth of the furniture
brought over from the mother country of the various colonies.
The New England and Virginia settlements were made
by the English, and their furniture was mostly of the Georgian
period, Chippendale, Sheraton, Adam, etc. New Orleans was
settled by the French and here we find furniture of the Louis
and Empire periods. To New York came the Dutch with
their Dutch and Flemish furniture, so we have three distinct
types of Colonial furniture Dutch, English and French. The
Colonial style was developed from these by making them
plainer, leaving off ornament and simplifying them in every
way possible, but retaining the original outlines and propor-
tions. It must be borne in mind that Colonial furniture and
Colonial styles are two separate things. Many of the pieces
which have come down to us from the Colonial days are pure
Chippendale, Sheraton or other styles and are recognized as
such nowadays, so we find the Colonial style of today is the
result of the gradual development of ideas derived from this
old furniture just as in the past, new styles were the outgrowth
of the older ones.
'Strictly speaking, the name Colonial would only apply to
furniture in this country before the Declaration of Independ-
ence. If this classification was observed, it would disqualify
half of the furniture now owned by antiquarian and historical
societies. So it has become customary to classify as Colonial,
furniture made for some years after 1776. This old furniture
has been gradually gathered in museums and private collec-
tions, and there are a number of books devoted entirely to
Colonial furniture, so it is the purpose of this book to only
show a few of the more interesting examples.^
128 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Windsor Chair, from Washington's
18th Century Windsor Chair.
Early 18th Century Splint Bottom Chair,
belonged to William Penn.
Rust. Bottom Chair
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 129
Louis XVI. Style. Sheraton Style.
Chairs owned by George Washington.
Empire Chair, made in Paris, Brought
to the United States, and owned
by President Monroe.
Empire Chair from the library of Nap*oleon
I. Afterwards owned in New
130 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Cane Chair with Spanish Foot. Owned
by Connecticut Historical Society,
Cane Chair, 17th Century English
Style. Owned by the Connec-
ticut Historical Society,
Owned by the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 131
Sofa of the Early 19th Century Type, Owned by Worcester Society of
Antiquity, Worcester, Mass.
Table in Salem, Mass.,
acobean stylo, known as
'gate" or "thousand leg"
table. The legs swing back
allowing the leaves to drop
down at sides.
Sofa in the Sheraton Style. Owned by the American
Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
132 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Mahogany Chest of Drawers, in
Secretary given to Stephen Girard by
Thomas Jefferson's Desk.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 133
Console Table in
the Empire Style.
Dressing Table, owned by
the Concord Antiquarian
Society, Concord, Mass.
Bombe-shaped Chest of
Drawers, in Salem, Mass.
134 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Tables and Sideboard, now owned in Baltimore.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 135
George Washington's Desk, owned by Historical
Society of Pennsylvania.
COLONIAL STYLE OF TODAY
Probably the most popular type of modern Colonial
today, is the one derived from the Empire style. The brass
and ormolu mounts of the Empire have been discarded and the
classical features retained and from this has come a distinct
American period style.
Mahogany, with fine figured veneer, is the wood most
used, but other kinds are employed, the wood having nothing
to do with the style.
Characteristics: The classical column, carved or plain;
the S-shaped scroll, lion's paw foot, and scroll foot.
China Cabinet, Colonial Style, Scroll Support and
Modern Colonial Sideboard with Crotch Mahogany Veneer Scroll
Supports and Feet.
Crotch Mahogany Colonial Sideboard with Carved Columns and
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 139
Modern Colonial Sideboard with Plain Columns and Ball Claw Feet.
Modern Colonial Sideboard with Scroll Supports and Feet
MO HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Modern Colonial Library Tables.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 141
Plain Four-post Bed, Colonial Style.
Scroll Bed, Colonial Style. ,
Colonial Desk with Scroll Legs and Feet
142 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Four-post Bed, Pineapple Carvings, Colonial Style.
Colonial Style Arm Chair.
During the past few years a style has developed in the
United States called Mission, suggested by work found in the
old Spanish Missions in California and the southwest. It runs
almost entirely to straight lines. At first it was extremely
heavy and clumsy, but recently has been lightejafl and greatly
improved upon. It is a simple straightforward style easily
recognized and is very popular at the present time.
Oak is the principal wood used, and fuming or dark stains
the finish most suitable. Similar work is being produced in
England, Austria and Germany under the names of New Art,
Craftsman and Arts and Crafts.
TAT* TBACHEfV OLUKOft
ANT* BARBARA. CALirORNIA
144 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Mission Morris Chair.
Mission Davenport with Loose Cushions.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 145
Mission Settee with Loose Cushions.
Mission Upholstered Chair.
Mission Rocker with Loose Cushions.
146 HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE.
Mission Library Tables.
HOW TO KNOW PERIOD STYLES IN FURNITURE. 147
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
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